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The banjo reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!

7120 reviews in the archive.

Bishline  Cimarron Banjo Reviews

Submitted by Ullman (see all reviews from this person) on 3/31/2020

Where Purchased: Direct from Bishline

Year Purchased: 2020
Price Paid: 2450 ($US)

Sound

Clawhammer player learning Scruggs style,sounds great,clear tone all the way up the neck,very comfortable to play,very hard to put down,stays in tune

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Was set up perfect for me,didn't have to get used to playing it,haven't made any adjustments to it

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Very nice looking instrument,Rob is a true Craftsman,couldn't find any flaws whatsoever, it's made from walnut with a maple rim,ordered it with spikes installed

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The banjo is well built,was much more than I was expecting.the hardware appears to be high quality.Cant see any reason this banjo won't last for many years.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Rob was great to deal with,he answered all my questions,he built this banjo for me while he was busy moving his shop,and I got it in the time frame he gave me.He also sent me pictures of the progress of the build.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I like the presto tail piece,and the inlays are really nice,the walnut resonator is very nice,there is nothing I'm unhappy with,the banjo sounds great,and plays great

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by jayhawk picker (see all reviews from this person) on 7/6/2016

Where Purchased: Directly from Rob

Year Purchased: 2014
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This banjo has a full, rich sound -- just what I was looking for. Walnut neck and resonator.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

This was set up by Rob exactly as I had asked. I did come back to have RR spikes installed, but that was no big deal. And if I ever need any adjustments, he's not too far away.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This is a plain Jane banjo in appearance without a lot of bling, but I wasn't looking for bling. That's probably why he calls it the Bluegrass Workhorse. It does have an understated elegance though.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I'm confident that the hardware will last as long as I'm able to play it.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Rob is great to work with. I was taking lessons at his shop at the time, so I was able to explain exactly what I wanted and touch base with him along the way.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The components are top notch. I may eventually upgrade to a wooden arm rest, but nothing wrong with the nickel plated one it came with.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

What I like best about this banjo, besides the sound, is that it is easily the most playable banjo I've ever played. It makes practice time a pleasure.​

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by George van Vlaanderen (see all reviews from this person) on 6/22/2016

Where Purchased: Bishline

Year Purchased: 2014
Price Paid: 2300 ($US)

Sound

Rich, full sound - killer

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Everything was near perfect. Head needed to be tightened up a bit (as would be expected after shipping)

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Very fine walnut burl with a matte finish. Flawless.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

All top quality.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

If I could give an "11", I would. I have talked set-up with Rob on several occasions. He even worked with me on Skype to tweak the set-up to my liking. Outstanding service. They clearly care about the customers and want them happy.

Customer Service: 10

Components

All componetns are solid.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

You simply cannot beat this banjo for the price.  It is nothing short of outstanding.  This banjo will stand up to any of the other reputable makers (Huber, Stelling, Yates, etc) at a fraction of the price.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by automatic octopus (see all reviews from this person) on 11/1/2013

Where Purchased: Direct from Bishline

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: 2200 ($US)

Sound

The sound is great, and exactly what I hoped for. Powerful!

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I pulled it out of the case and it played wonderfully. It was even still in tune after being shipped from the other side of the world!

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

So very nice to look at - I can't get enough of the swirly walnut on the resonator. I had the truss rod cover engraved as part of my order, and that came out even better than I hoped.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Solid, professional, and beautifully finished. Bishline call it a bluegrass workhorse and that name fits well.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I wish I had an 11 to rate customer service. I was already impressed with the customer service when talking through my options with Rob Bishline, and dealing with the administration through Andy, but when shipping to Australia proved to have significant issues, they really looked after things admirably. I couldn't have asked for better treatment.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I really love the overall aesthetic - dark, feature-rich wood, satin finish, and understated inlays. Everything is quality, and there are no corners cut. It feels like it should cost more than it does.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I couldn't be happier!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Jacob Underwood (see all reviews from this person) on 2/26/2013

Where Purchased: Rob Bishline

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 1,995 ($US)

Sound

I play bluegrass, and this banjo is PERFECT for my playing style. It is KILLER for hard driving, traditional bluegrass. It is also very good for soft, melodic playing. The volume is great! It's a very dynamic banjo. It can produce a wide variety of tones and volumes.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo was set up very well when I got it. It plays like butter and the intonation is PERFECT all the way up and down the neck.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This is a very nice looking banjo. It has a burl walnut resonator and a straight grain walnut neck. It has a satin finish which is actually very nice, and more durable than gloss. All the mother of pearl inlay is beautiful. The hardware is all of excellent quality and looks great.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This is a very reliable banjo. It's the only banjo you'll ever need! The tone is PERFECT. The finish looks looks like it should last well. I would definitely use it without a backup. This is a pro banjo.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I talked to Rob Bishline several times. He was very friendly and was always happy to answer any of my questions. He even installed a Shubb 5th string capo. He is great to deal with! He even sent me pictures while he was building it. The banjo comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The whole banjo is AWESOME! The tuners are great, and the presto tailpiece is nice also. I've had the banjo for a few months, and haven't noticed anything that should be upgraded.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This is an incredible banjo! It's as good as any I've ever played, and is very reasonably priced for a professional grade banjo.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Lewis842002 (see all reviews from this person) on 1/18/2013

Where Purchased: Banjo.com

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: $1,995 historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

She is loud and has a crisp tone that is clear to the ear.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Banjo.com did a great job with the setup.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Nothing fancy, just a nice looking and well built banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Hardware and finish look great and no complaints so far.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Rob at Bishline and Mark at Banjo.com were both a pleasure to deal with.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The banjo itself is a standout and there is nothing cheap about it, I see no need to upgrade any part of this banjo at this time.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

You can not go wrong if you purchase a Cimarron.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by thirdstone (see all reviews from this person) on 12/4/2012

Where Purchased: Direct From Bishline

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 2,000 ($US)

Sound

Rob Bishline describes this as a bluegrass "workhorse" and indeed it is. The tone is fantastic, just right. It is loud to be sure but it is very responsive to the player's touch and picking position. You can take this banjo from warm to bright very easily.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The action was very nearly perfect. I tightened the head 1.25 turns. The tension rods nuts were lose probably from shipping vibration. I had to tighten them up. There was also one nut on the resonator ring that was the incorrect size and didn't fully seat. I called Bishline and they promptly sent me a replacement which fit perfectly.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

This is the satin finish burl walnut. It looks great. The fit and finish are excellent. The grain on the neck is nice and straight. The inlays are perfect.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This banjo is rock solid in every way.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

If I could give them an 11 I would. The Bishline team is exceptionally helpful. Rob himself is responsive. During the manufacturing process, they sent me pictures of the banjo. Needless to say I was surprised and delighted when I received them!

Customer Service: 10

Components

When I ordered the banjo the only upgrade available was the tuners. I opted to do this for something like 60 or 90 bucks. I feel this was well worth it. The banjo stays in tune very well. There is nothing cheap about this instrument. Considering it was a 2k purchase there really should not be. That said, I was very pleased with all the components.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I have played this banjo for about 2 months . I have buddies who own prewar Gibsons and they also love my banjo. Everyone comments on the sound. The tone is wonderful, the feel and playability is great. It looks super, simple and elegant. It is a fine handcrafted instrument made by people who care about their customers and support their products. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by DonAbq (see all reviews from this person) on 2/16/2012

Where Purchased: Elderly

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 1485 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Loud, but with a nice tone. Not as bright as maple.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Banjo was used, but from all appearances had not been owned by the original purchaser very long, so it was probably the original factory setup. Setup was perfect for me. Playability was the equal or better than a Gibson ESS I tried.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Nice, subdued appearance. No flash or bling but the quality of the components is evident.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

This is a solid banjo. It should meet Bishline's claim that it's a "bluegrass workhorse".

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Very quick reponse to an email query.

Customer Service: 10

Components

From all indications the money on this banjo went into the components, not bling and ultra shiny finish. In other words it has everything it needs to sound good.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I'm partial to satin finish, in particular on the neck for speed. Another advantage to the finish will be less fear in taking the banjo out in temperature and humidity extremes. Overall rating reflects the level of high quality components at this price point.

Overall Rating: 10

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